I have just finished the longest retouch on a picture I have ever done, it has taken 3 days on and off to complete and is a promotional group portrait for the band Broken Links. Let me break down the shot to give you an idea of how it was constructed.
I knew that the band wanted a shot that would reflect the mood and aesthetic behind their music, so I spoke with Mark (guitarist/vocals) about their album which is titled Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene. The album has the theme of a post apocalyptic future running through it and when you listen to it has a really visceral feel to it that I wanted to somehow work into the picture. So the first thing I did was to go out and shoot a series of background plates of different places in various states of disrepair so that i would be able to give the band a few options for the backdrop. i knew I would be putting the band in afterwards and how I would light them, so I wanted to shoot a plate that would reflect the lighting that I had in mind. Of the three plates I shot the most successful was underneath a block of flats near to my house that they were tearing down, so I set the shot up to allow the light to bleed through all of the openings and shot four images to make a panorama.
The band were all shot separately against a light grey backdrop and then cut out. All the colours were tweaked to make the backdrop and band match as closely as possible and that was it.
The final image was just short of 2GB in size due to the size of the background and all of the subsequent layers. The image was sent a few days ago and the band loved it.